The ultra conservative Heritage Foundation, which has long advocated against LGBTQ rights, hosted a panel of Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists in Washington on Monday. The event was titled “The Inequality of the Equality Act: Concerns From the Left,” and featured four panelists, three were from the Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF), a radical feminist group whose primary mission is to oppose transgender rights while one panelist once identified as a transgender woman and later de-transitioned.
The goal of the event was to drum up opposition against the Equality Act, a bill proposed by the House of Representatives that would explicitly add sexual orientation and gender identity to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, the passage of the bill is one of the priorities of the Democrat controlled house.
The panel was moderated by Ryan T. Anderson, a senior research fellow at the foundation, who according to Media Matters is known for creating “bogus horror stories” and erroneous policy briefs in order to drum up opposition to LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections, relationship recognition, and promote non-scientific propaganda studies such as the concept of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria.
“If gender identity becomes a protected class in federal civil rights law, there will be serious negative consequences,” Anderson said in his introduction. “The increase in those identifying as transgender has become an epidemic.”
The first speaker from WoLF was Jennifer Chavez, who started out her presentation by attacking Jazz Jennings, referring to her as a “boy” and using a clip from her show out of context in an attempt to scare the audience. She then read stories from mothers who were in denial over the fact that their kids were transgender. In one case, she read the story of a mother who let her child live in the streets instead of accepting him at home. In other the letters, the mothers painted themselves as victims while blaming social influence and the internet as the reasons that their children are transgender, and referred to them as “mentally ill and delusional.”
The second speaker was Hacsi Horvath, who was not a member of WoLF, but had at one time identified as a transgender woman and de-transitioned twelve years later. Horvath attempted to debunk any current science related to transgender people without providing any evidence to support his claim. He instead attempted to give merit to the concept of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria and called it “the new eating disorder. He also tried to validate the often discredited theory of autogynephilia while referring to being transgender as a sexual fetish.
The third speaker was Julia Beck, a member of WoLF, who identifies as a lesbian. Beck talked about how she believed she was kicked off of the Baltimore Mayor’s LGBTQ commission for purposely misgendrering a transgender woman who had been convicted of rape as she repeatedly misgendered the head of the commission while denying her lesbian identity as she spoke. Beck claimed she was let go for being a lesbian and not for holding transphobic views as she proceeded to deny the existence of any sexualities other than heterosexual, homosexual, and bi-sexual or any gender identities other than male or female. She also claimed that intersex people “are either one sex or the other.”
The final speaker was WoLF Co-Chair Kara Dansky, who openly referred to her group as a “far left radical organization.” Dansky spoke about Title !X and how she was part of an amicus brief that was sent to the Supreme Court to oppose Gavin Grimm, a transgender student from Virginia who had sued for the right use school bathrooms that correspond to his gender identity. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case and a lower court ruling in Grimm’s favor was left in place. Her organization is now fighting against the Equality Act, saying the passage of the transgender rights bill an “unmitigated disaster for women and girls.” Dansky, a former ACLU attorney, who in 2017 announced an alliance between WoLF and the Family Policy Alliance, which is the public policy wing of the conservative group Focus on the Family
In a report by NBC News, Heron Greenesmith, a researcher at the liberal think tank Political Research Associates, said this latest iteration of cooperation between conservatives and radical feminists (sometimes referred to as transgender-exclusionary radical feminists, or TERFs) is at least in part a reaction to the “incredible gains the trans community has made in terms of civil rights and visibility.”
“They are capitalizing on a scarcity mindset rhetoric … saying there aren’t enough rights to go around, and therefore we must prioritize cis women over everyone else,” Greenesmith said. “That’s right out of the right’s playbook, when they say, ‘Let’s prioritize citizens over noncitizens, let’s prioritize white people over people of color.’”
Watch the panel’s presentation at the Heritage Foundation below: